Our Blog features stories from around Lee Health, as well as notes from patients, donors and Lee Health leadership on how your support is making a difference.

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Breast Cancer Support

Cathy Devine’s family had a history of breast cancer. Her mother, sister, great uncle and second cousins had breast cancer, some of them losing their battle with the disease. Cathy knew she was at risk, so she underwent genetic testing. Confirmed as positive for BRCA1 meant Cathy had up to an 85% chance of developing breast cancer, so she had a pre-emptive mastectomy in 1998 in Ohio. It wasn’t an easy decision. When a doctor suggested she have the mastectomy, she resisted, and [...].

Finding Hope When It Seems There is None

Elizabeth Copeman thought she injured herself by picking up something too heavy at her job at a Venice daycare, causing an egg-shaped lump in her breast. Through a workman’s compensation insurance examination, she found out she had Stage 1 aggressive breast cancer. Without insurance, all the medical attention she could get was a mammogram at a free clinic to confirm the diagnosis and then a consultation through a friend’s doctor that the tumor in her breast needed to come [...].

Barbara’s Friends Stories – Sarai Hernandez-Salinas

On Thanksgiving Day in 2018, Adela Salinas remembers her daughter Sarai as an active, energetic 5-year-old, always smiling while enjoying a bounce house and playing with her family. The next day, everything changed when Sarai woke up with a bad stomachache. She wouldn’t let her mother touch her tummy. By the end of the evening, Sarai spiked a fever and developed a bloated abdomen. “She told me she had a pillow in her belly,” recalled Adela. The family headed [...].

Barbara’s Friends Stories – Mackenzie Hummer

Carrie Hummer will never forget the day that her happy, healthy eight-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, was diagnosed with cancer. “I remember just feeling like time stopped. My world stopped. It’s a day you never forget; it’s something you never expect. Definitely one of the hardest days of my life,” she said. Before her diagnosis, Mackenzie was a healthy, energetic third grader. But when she started experiencing frequent bouts of nausea, her doctor suggested an MRI to check her brain. The [...].

Barbara’s Friends Stories – Francisco “Cisco” Brito

At six feet and three inches tall, it’s easy to look up to Francisco “Cisco” Brito. The oldest brother of four siblings, Cisco has always set a great example for the little eyes in his family. So when the devastating news of Cisco’s leukemia came, the impact sent shockwaves through the entire clan. It all started in 2018 when Cisco thought he had contracted an eye infection. His concerned mother, Maricela, took him to the doctor. The prescribed antibiotics [...].

Barbara’s Friends Stories – Lilly Bendell

For brand-new parents, it can be hard to tell the difference between a “normal” symptom and a dangerous one. But when Laura Bendell noticed pinprick-sized spots on her baby girl’s eyes, her mother’s intuition fired on all cylinders. The medical community refers to these blotches as petechiae, or round discolorations that appear on the skin as a result of bleeding. While these can be a symptom of various common health issues, they can also be an early warning sign [...].

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